A new ‘low-skilled’ visa could help prevent the exploitation of our young visitors
The exploitation of sc417 (Working Holiday) workers revealed by the ABC report this week put into the spotlight a shadow economy reliant on low-skilled workers which various governments of the day have refused to acknowledge.
“Officially, Australia only has a high-skilled migration programme (namely, the 457 visa), but in truth the Australian labour market is flooded with low-skilled temporary migrant workers on other visas”, state two academics in an opinion piece in The Age today.
There is a large underclass of workers in the agriculture and hospitality industries made up foreigners on various types of temporary visas including work/holiday visas, student visas and tourist visas. The numbers are not known but their plight is only talked about when media reports pierce the veil of secrecy behind which these vulnerable individuals work and are exploited.
“So how have we allowed this to happen? Successive Coalition and Labor governments have not only tolerated this unskilled migrant workforce, but have encouraged its growth,” state the opinion piece by Dr Joanna Howe and Associate Professor Alexander Reilly of the Adelaide Law School.
The academics propose that Australia introduce an official entry stream for low-skilled workers.
“This visa would be subject to strict independent labour-market testing so that only occupations that are in shortage can be accessed. This independent labour-market testing would also confirm that the skill shortage was not owing to a lack of investment in training and/or Australia’s apprenticeship program, or because of unacceptably poor wages and working conditions for that occupation.”
Dr Joanna Howe and Associate Professor Alexander Reilly work in the Adelaide Law School and are members of the Public Law and Policy Research Unit at the University of Adelaide Law School. Their article “Meeting Australia’s Labour Needs – the Case for a Low Skill Work Visa” will be published in the Federal Law Review later this year, according to The Age.
Source: Migration Alliance
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